News Releases

  • Print

January 19, 2021

Barrasso Questions Secretary of State Nominee Tony Blinken

Presses nominee on past foreign policy failures, China’s human rights violations, and Keystone XL pipeline.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) questioned Tony Blinken, President-elect Biden’s nominee to be the next secretary of state. Blinken testified before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

Barrasso pressed Blinken on a number of issues, including his role in admitted Obama-Biden foreign policy failures, China’s human rights violations and the Keystone XL pipeline.

On History of Failed Foreign Policy Decisions:

“The role of the Secretary of State is vitally important to protecting our national security as well as advancing American interests and values across the globe.

“With this in mind, your nomination to me raises concerns. It is critically important our nation not return to a strategy of leading from behind.

“Robert Gates, the former Secretary of Defense under President Obama, noted that Joe Biden ‘has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.’

“I bring this up because you were an integral part in advising both Biden and Obama on these failed foreign policy decisions.

“Even with years of experience in foreign policy, when it came time to make the right decisions, in your own words, you say you failed.

“On Syria, the Obama-Biden foreign policy failed.

“You admitted, ‘We failed in preventing a tragic loss of life as well as millions of people made into refugees or internally displaced, and that’s something that we will have to live with.’

“You also went on to say, ‘In Syria, we rightly sought to avoid another Iraq by not doing too much, but we made the opposite error of doing too little.’

“On Libya, the Obama-Biden foreign policy failed.

“Again you admitted ‘Libya is a particularly challenging one and I have to acknowledge that we obviously did not succeed in the Obama – Biden administration in getting that right.’

“You helped negotiate the terrible Iran nuclear deal. These botched decisions have serious consequences. I believe they embolden terrorist organizations around the globe.

“These failures put the lives of the men and women who serve our nation at risk.

“I think it would be a grave mistake to confirm a Secretary of State who has a demonstrated track record of repeatedly making the wrong decisions when it comes to American foreign policy and national security.

On China’s Human Rights Abuses:

“In your earlier statements, you talked about how the Chinese Communist Party continues to commit terrible human rights abuses.

“You have confirmed that you believe it is genocide.

“The Uyghurs, a religious and ethnic minority in China, has experienced brutal repression at the hands of the Chinese government.

“What do you plan to do within the first 30 days to address what Joe Biden has described as a genocide committed by the Chinese government?”

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Blinken on past foreign policy failures and China’s human rights abuses.

On Keystone XL Pipeline:

“President-Elect Biden has pledged to treat U.S. allies with respect and consideration.

“One of our most important allies is our neighbor to the north, Canada.

“Today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged the incoming administration to reconsider any potential efforts to sabotage the Keystone XL pipeline.

“President-elect Biden has made comments, I understand, from the news, that he wants to shut that down.

“Alberta Premier Jason Kenney raised concerns about reports of plans to cancel this valuable project saying, ‘Doing so would kill jobs on both sides of the border, weaken the critically important Canada-US relationship and undermine US national security by making the United States more dependent on OPEC oil imports in the future.’

“I strongly oppose any effort by the Biden Administration to cancel or delay the Keystone XL pipeline project.

“It creates jobs. It helps grow the economy. It improves our nation’s energy security.

“I think taking any action to cancel it would eliminate jobs for thousands of Americans and undermine economic stability for many.

“How does revoking permits for the Keystone XL pipeline without consultations or deliberations show respect and consideration to Canada, one of our closest allies?

Click here for video of Sen. Barrasso questioning Blinken on Keystone XL Pipeline.